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The Boys of Summer

April 14, 2009
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Watching ESPN today and they had a huge announcement about the release of the schedule today. I kind of find it ridiculous that

 Football is becoming so big that even the draft and the schedule release is headline news in the sports world. Don’t get me wrong, I like football, I just find it ridiculous how big off-season football is getting. Of course this is coming from the guy who was watching the Baseball Hot-stove all winter…

So enough about Football, let’s talk about Baseball. I love baseball, and every year I find myself liking and appreciating the game more and more. I originally inherited the love of the game from my Mother, who is a huge Mickey Mantle and Yankee fan. Then in my college years the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry heated up to epic proportions. And since I went to school in Hartford (smack dab in the middle of NYC and Boston), watching the games became even more fun (yet completely dividing me from my New England friends at the bar). Of course things have been rough for a Yankee fan like myself. During the 2004 World Series I had to leave the Irish bar I watched most of the post-season at, well, up until those last three games… 

But whether the Yankees are winning or not I’ve come to love baseball for many reasons. And I think anyone who gives the sport a chance will too.

 

 

 

  1. It’s America’s Past time- Baseball has been around since the late 1800’s. It has a rich history of records, myths, and legends. Baseball is ingrained into our National fiber, and even our lexicon. How often do you find yourself using baseball terminology at work, at the bar, or at home. 
  2. It’s an 162 game season- That means every day you can turn on your TV, listen to your radio, or open your news paper to check the scores. That means you have around 80 chances to see a home game (if you can). One of my favorite quotes I’ve heard about baseball is, “Everyone wins sixty games, and everyone loses sixty games, it’s what you do with those other forty games that matters.” It means that every time you go into the ballpark, check a box score, or watch “Baseball Tonight” your team has a chance of winning. How many others sports can say that? 
  3. It Has The Home Run- Outside of the TKO and the hole-in-one I can’t think of a more exciting sports phenomenon. You get a single batter smacking a 9″ ball moving at 90 some mph over 400 feet into the stands. It can instantly turn 4-0 blow-out to a tie ball game. Even if you hate baseball, you’ve got to love the home run. 
  4. It’s the Ultimate Mix of Team/Individual- I’ve always been an individual sport player myself, but I’ve always loved team sports as well. To me baseball is the perfect mix of both. Your game depends on the pitcher out-matching the other team, yet at the same time you need your entire field behind him working together to provide solid defense. You need your slugger to blast in runs for you, but you need your speedy lead-off spot to set the table. You may have a great all star on your team, but unless you have a solid bench to back him up your team is getting no-where. 
  5. It Celebrates the Average- In baseball a .300 or above batting average is considered good. Can you imagine any other thing in life where you can achieve a successful result one-third of the time and be considered “good”? Baseball celebrates the player that plays hard everyday, season after season. It’s not just the flashy 101mph fireballer that gets noticed, but the guy who plays 500 or more days without getting injured. Even the guy coming off the bench, who sees just five bats all year can be the player of the game if he turns in a clutch performance. 
  6. It Celebrates Perfection- What other score places “errors” as the third most visible number in the results column? In baseball you need to execute your job well, or  else your team will suffer. Baseball is a game of numbers, and it has no problems placing good digits with bad ones. I think we could all learn a lesson from that. 
  7. It’s Simple, Yet Complex- The rules of baseball are easy enough to get, but to truly understand the sport it takes years. A force-out it easy enough to understand, but trying to figure out the manager is going to risk a hit-and-run, why a left handed batter is batting second, or the logic behind pitch selection takes years to understand fully. 
  8. Uniqueness Lies Within Its DNA- Baseball is the only sport (that I can think of), that actually has two separate sets of rules in two separate divisions. The AL has the designated hitter, and the NL has the pitcher batting ninth. Love or hate this disparity, you have to admit it makes baseball a pretty unique and dynamic sport. Not only are the teams facing new pitchers and hitters in the post season, but they’re dealing with completely different rules. Baseball also differs from other sports in that none of the baseball fields are regulated to specific measurements (within reason). Add in the fact that the grounds crew specifically grooms the grass to their home team’s advantage, you will always see something different during every game. 
  9. It’s Brings the World Together- Well, not yet, but soon hopefully. If you look at the MLB right now you’ll see the incredible diversity that the league is made up of. Japanese, Koreans, Domicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Haitians, all coming together in the name of sport. Sure it’s not up to snuff with soccer (futbol) yet, but with the WBC I think it’s making slow steps. Baseball is that simple sport you can play with a stick and a ball, and sees no race or color. 

So those are just a few reasons I love baseball. I could go on about how great the Yankees are, but I think I’d lose some readers at that point…

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